Trainer to benefit from investment, mature sector

22nd May 2020 By: Cameron Mackay - Journalist

Trainer to benefit from investment, mature sector

MAUN TRAINING CENTRE The mining simulators are deployed to optimise operational techniques for new hires

Virtual mining training solutions provider Immersive Technologies is encouraged by the “maturity level” of companies in Botswana, particularly in terms of technology.

It is, therefore, looking forward to contributing to the wave of development in the country, spurred by continued investment from mining companies that recognise the importance of performance.

“Immersive Technologies has always been, and will continue to be, a major player in the operator training and development field in the Botswana mining industry. It was the first training company to introduce high-tech, simulation-based training to the Botswana mining sector,” says Immersive Technologies Africa regional manager Pieter Page.

The impact of Covid-19 has resulted in certain operations, such as diamond miner De Beers’ joint venture (JV) with the Botswana government, referred to as Debswana, being temporarily halted.

However, there are signs that the JV has been engaging with key stakeholders and “considering the appropriate recommencement of operations”, states Page.

“The skills challenges of Botswana’s mining industry are similar to those of other mining equipment operators in the world. We, as Immersive Technologies, are supporting our African customers through remote services and solutions to increase the sustainability of their current training programmes during the lockdown.”

This also includes ensuring that trainers, operators and the mining workforce are prepared to use online courses, live online user groups and electronic-learning tools to emerge stronger once the pandemic is over.

He adds that, while the Covid-19 lockdown locally has presented challenges to the manner in which the company operates, its use of remote technology can assist operations.

“Considering our international footprint, we’ve had solutions to support and monitor our assets from afar, for years. Luckily, we are ahead of the game, but we continue to develop innovative solutions to address these challenges.”

One such solution is the company’s remote support expertise. This includes secured simulator connectivity and the problem-solving skills of its technicians. It allows for an immediate transition to a new way of working through the use of remote support technology.

The company has successfully delivered curriculum, “train-the-trainer” services, and technical support remotely to clients worldwide.

Copper Project

Page highlights the Khoemacau copper mining project, located in the Kalahari Copper Belt, for which the company has provided a simulator technology solution that involves the training and skills development of workers.

In its initial phase, Australian underground miner Barminco has committed to recruit and employ people from local communities. Immersive Technologies has partnered with Barminco to provide its simulator technology solution for the development of the local workforce.

This solution includes a training centre in Maun, Botswana, and encompasses two IM360-B underground mining simulators with simulation modules for the Sandvik TH663 truck, the LH517 and LH621 loaders, as well as the Land Cruiser light vehicle.

“These simulators are deployed to increase machine familiarity, practise safety responses and optimise operational techniques for the many newly hired operators.”

In addition, to further develop the capability of people in these roles, two machine prestart inspection visualisation tools have been installed at the training centre to enable familiarisation with machine components, along with supporting machine-specific electronic-learning modules.

“The Botswana mining sector will always be considered a key focus area. The high level of capital equipment investment, as well as the technological maturity of the mining companies, fits the profile of clients that understand the value we can add,” he concludes.